The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost power in Jharkhand on Monday as a united Opposition alliance of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) cruised to a majority in the 81-member state assembly.
The BJP’s chief minister Raghubar Das, who led the government for five years, lost his own seat to a party veteran-turned-rebel who contested as an independent candidate.
The JMM and the Congress-RJD combine had entered the 2014 assembly elections separately. The three parties were, however, part of the coalition government led by JMM leader Hemant Soren from 2013 to 2014 before the elections took place.
The JMM emerged as the single largest party with 30 seats, the Congress bagged 16seats and the RJD got one seat. The BJP, which had won 37 seats in the 2014 assembly polls, saw its downfall to 25 seats.
The All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU), a former BJP ally that fought the state polls separately, won two seats. Monday’s results were the best-ever performances in the state by both the Congress and the JMM.
In 2014, the BJP chose Raghubar Das as a non-tribal chief minister. It was for the first time in the history of the state that a non-tribal was chosen for the top job.
The BJP’s confidence early on Monday that it would emerge as the single largest party slowly gave way to disappointment. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated JMM’s Hemant Soren, the CM candidate of the opposition alliance, late on Monday.
Soren thanked the voters of Jharkhand for their clear mandate, and promised to meet the aspirations of the state’s citizens. He also credited his father, Shibu Soren, for the victory and thanked leaders of alliance partners.